Theatre Maker and Director, Kirsty Pennycook received a bursary to shadow Starcatchers artists as they delivered our Creative Skills programme in Dundee. Here she reflects on her experience and the contribution it has made to her development as an early years artist.
Working with the Nursery Staff based in Dundee, and the visiting artists from Starcatchers was an invaluable opportunity to learn about Starcatchers work inspiring creativity for the youngest of children, and to learn from professionals who are experts in their art forms as well as experts in nursery settings looking to learn about keeping their work creative.
On reflection, one of the most important things for me was to learn about the barriers that Nursery Nurses, and teachers face in providing a creative space the the young people they teach and care for. To discuss the pressures, expectations and limitations placed on their roles, made for a greater understanding in my facilitation practice. I now have a much wider understanding of the participatory sector in educational contexts, and in the future, will be able to present workshops and projects in a way that works better for staff in those settings.
It was brilliant to learn from Amy Hall Gibson, our drama facilitator, and see a range of exercises that work in settings for children under 5. The majority of my creative practice is with young people age 5+, so to see and adapt games and creative exercises for younger was so beneficial for my future practice. To hear how the Nursery staff would connect this to the curriculum and targets they have, was great, and rooted how to facilitate this kind of work in the most useful way.
Lastly, the wide range of art forms was particularly interesting to me as a facilitator, and learning how these art-forms can work together to achieve creative goals for under 5s. The visual art work we did with Pearl, leant us to think about creative work as a group, and reminded me of drama techniques we use to build work from everyone’s ideas. This has been freeing as a facilitator to bring different art forms into my practice, and to plan what outcome I might want to achieve before landing exactly on the art.
Kirsty’s bursary enabling her to shadow artists delivering Starcatchers Creative Skills programme was provided through Playspace, Starcatchers artist development programme.